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Northern Ireland (UK)

CrisisWatch Northern Ireland (UK)

Deteriorated Situation

Violent unrest erupted in capital Belfast and other cities against backdrop of rising unionist anger over controversial Northern Ireland Protocol. Unrest 2-9 April broke out across several cities, reportedly leaving at least 90 police officers injured; violence erupted amid rising discontent within unionist community over Northern Ireland Protocol – provision of UK-EU “Brexit” agreement in effect since 1 Jan 2020 that created regulatory border in Irish Sea – as well as anger over Public Prosecution Service’s late March decision not to prosecute Sinn Fein politicians who attended funeral last summer in violation of COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings. Notably, groups of predominantly youths 2 April assaulted police officers, injuring 12 in Londonderry city; next day highjacked and set alight three vehicles and threw over 30 petrol bombs at police in Newtownabbey town. In capital Belfast, authorities 2 April arrested eight individuals, including 13-year-old boy, after youth groups attacked police officers in historically loyalist area. Group mostly encompassing youths 7 April highjacked and set bus on fire at intersectional area between nationalist and unionist communities; 8 April threw petrol bombs at police officers who deployed water cannons for first time in six years. First Minister Arlene Foster 7 April condemned violence, stating actions “do not represent unionism or loyalism”. Loyalist Communities Council, umbrella group representing paramilitary groups, 9 April said there had been “spectacular collective failure” to understand scale and nature of unionist and loyalist anger and called for new protocol to be negotiated. In letter to UK PM Boris Johnson, four former Northern Ireland secretaries of state voiced concerns over violence and risk that situation could “fall over” unless UK govt took urgent action. Following letter signed by 21 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) representatives 27 April expressing no confidence in Arlene Foster, Foster 28 April announced intention to step down as DUP leader and first minister in May and June, respectively.
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Reports & Briefings

Monitoring the Northern Ireland Ceasefires: Lessons from the Balkans

Monitoring the Northern Ireland Ceasefires: Lessons from the Balkans

Latest Updates

In Ireland, Israel’s Religious Right Engages with Ideas for Peace

Our Israel Senior Analyst Ofer Zalzberg joins nine leaders of Israel’s national religious community as they seek ideas for peace in meetings with the architects of Northern Ireland’s peace process. Unexpectedly, he finds the trip inspires subtle shifts in their thinking – and in his own.

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Monitoring the Northern Ireland Ceasefires: Lessons from the Balkans

This briefing compares the mandate of the Independent Monitoring Commission for Northern Ireland (IMC) with those of two recent European examples of the monitoring and enforcement of compliance with peace agreements: the unsuccessful Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) of 1998-1999, and the much more fruitful mission of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995. It attempts to identify lessons from those earlier experiences that may help the IMC carry out its mission in the context of carrying forward the Good Friday peace process.